Last month we featured a story about Carey Fuller, a homeless mother of two in the Seattle area who was hoping to get to New York to speak at the 140 Conference about the state of homeless families today. Aided by homeless advocate Mark Horvath and Razoo.com, a crowdsource fundraising site, Fuller sought donation to cover her travel and lodging expenses.
Good news. It worked. Sufficient funds were collected for her trip from readers and fans of Fuller’s writing and from Horvath’s online community. Fuller wrote this in a post about her blog in response:
Wow is all I can say to the generous folks who donated to help get to New York to attend the 140 Conference! …If someone had told me years ago that I would be a homeless blogger and advocate for the homelessness, I would’ve laughed in their faces. Yet here I am, getting ready to head to New York to attend the conference with Mark Horvath.
As a speaker at the 140 Conference in New York, Fuller had 10 minutes to talk about her situation and share her side of what being a homeless family is like. Heidi Cohen an attendee at the conference, singled Fuller out as one of 5 notable speakers.
According to Carey, as homeless person, you become invisible, not less of a human being. To earn money and get her feelings out, Carey wrote poetry that she published on Kindle, Writing From the Driver’s Side. Tape Carey’s words where you can see them every day as a reminder: “All of us are in control of our lives; we’re doing the driving.”
While Fuller was struck by the amplification of her story using social media, her in-person experience at the conference was the great take-home message of the event. She writes:
When I walked off stage, to my surprise a woman met up with me just outside of the stage doors. She told me how she thought I was so brave and as we talked, I told her about how many jobs I applied for but never heard back from the companies. Usually that happens because so many people apply for one job and for recruiters, they can only look at the first resumes received. The rest are never even looked at. To my surprise she slipped something into my hand and whispered to me to promise her that I would use what she gave me to buy something nice for myself.
Turns out the woman gave her enough cash to spend some quality time with her daughters, and that was the nicest thing she could imagine.
While social media tools certainly allow for bad news to spread quickly, it also gives people a chance to show their goodness. In Fuller’s case, it gives her hope. She reflects “You just never know where life takes you or who you’ll meet so don’t ever give up on your life, no matter how rough things get.”